Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hope in our neck of the woods!

It used to be said that 'local food' would only be a fad because no one in our neck of the woods (and a good deal of the rest of the country) would ever find anything to eat that was grown locally during the 'dark days', i.e., winter and early spring. In fact, to extend this thought process quite a bit, I recently read a comment from a university professor of agriculture economics in which he said 'local foods were nothing to worry about' (hmmm, 'worry about'? I wonder which corporations were his funding source at the time he made this remark?).

Well, guess what? Our area is learning how to grow, produce, and eat locally-grown foods, including all winter long, and enjoy the process and community that is being created along the way. I can't think of anyplace else I would rather be. As someone has said "I have found my tribe". :-)

Well, I guess I have found 'my tribe' also, and our farm was mentioned twice in the following article written by Kim Bayer at annarbor.com, which highlights all the hope that comes with locally grown foods for our section of Michigan.

Worry about? !?!?!? I'm sorry, but I am stuck on that remark! 

For the record, I do not 'worry about' local foods.

Instead, I see hope, energy, spirit, commitment, naturally fertile soil, clean water (and conserved water), clean air, increased bio-diversity, clean food, fair wages and working conditions, new jobs, healthy food and increased access to it, a re-built and more diverse economy in our Great State of Michigan, regional food security, improved food safety, improved health and wealth in our community at large, and I'm sure I am forgetting much I could also add.

Wait, I will add one more thing. I feel love, and I feel loved within this world of local food.

Wait, I will add even one more thing! I see a hopeful future for my children (and all the world's children), a future where cancer and the many other life-sucking and expensive chronic diseases are rare, not the norm as they are now.

Yes, a hopeful future, this is what I am working on, working for, and living for on our farm.

Quoting one of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver from her book Animal Dreams:

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for.
The most you can do is live inside that hope,
running down its hallways,
touching the walls on both sides. 

I like that image of living inside of hope, running and jumping like an exuberant child down the hallway touching the walls with happiness. I never did that as a child. It feels wonderful, freeing, perhaps almost intoxicating, to be able to do that now, even if I am not literally 'bouncing off the walls'. :-)

I have finally found that group of feelings while creating our farm. However, I am not suggesting or recommending that the hard work and commitment needed for starting a farm is the only way to find those feelings of happiness, joy, and satisfaction.

I know that all my readers are survivors, not just cancer survivors, but survivors of life's many ways of unfairness, troubles, sadness, and it does not matter if you are young or old or somewhere in-between. However, thankfully, the human spirit is filled with resilience, it is able to keep growing, and life is filled with opportunities for hope and for growth.

Even though I do not consider myself well-read, particularly with fiction, I have read everything Barbara Kingsolver has written, and I have read several of her books more than once. Years ago, I used to have a hope that I would sit down in my airplane seat (back when I was doing so much traveling) and find that she was already settled in to the seat next to mine, back in coach, wearing her blue jeans and boots or high-tops, she was 'up for talking to a fan', and we had a long flight ahead of us! Woohoo! Remembering that simple but unrealistic hope brings happy tears of anticipation to my eyes, just thinking about what a pleasant, and certainly thought-provoking, several hours we would have shared together.

A hope like that might be a definition of a fantasy, as it did not require any planning or effort on my part, with the outcome depending solely on random good luck. However, other hopes can be identified, plans made, work done, step, step, step, rows cultivated, all with the conviction that they are the truth for your life and worth working on, worth the time and effort even if the ultimate dream is not realized in your lifetime. I hope you already have or will find one thing like that, one thing that has lit a fire in you to burn and warm you through the dark days, those you may have now or those that will surely come in the future.

One of my heros is Wes Jackson, founder of The Land Institute in Salinas, Kansas. When it comes to dreams and hopes, there are not many people who are working on something as big as his, which is to develop new perennial grains to become food security for a sustainable future. Here is his way of expressing what I am trying to say:

"If your life's work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you're not thinking big enough."

Worry about local foods? No, I have embraced them, as our new small, local, organic farm is part of our community's larger hope to provide love, peace, and good food for all. Now that's a 'big think', and I am honored to play a small part in this work, this dream, this hope, which is not a fantasy.

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Anonymous said...

This is one of the loveliest pages you've written and I thank you for this great beginning to the new year. Hopes, dreams, being part of a larger whole - there's enough here to keep me going all year!

Elaine said...

Hurrah, amen, yes, & a big, big hug, Diana. Ditto Sukey's words, too.

Kristin said...

You never know when finding your own niche, especially in something that is just so right, will be an inspiration to your readers and fans. Thank you for giving my year a great start and for giving me a clearer vision for my life.